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The Fake Free: Is the Price Right for Open Source Monitoring?
The Price is Right?
Usually in the IT monitoring world, there’s very little you can get for free. Often times, people look to the open source world mainly for tools that are free, but still are able to deliver the basic needs of what they’re looking for.
Even better still is that if they’re well versed enough they can transform open source software to do whatever they want, and even give back to the community. It’s the beauty of open source software and the core of it all starts with the old standby phrase “the price is right”.
Come on down! You're the next contestant!
With so many IT departments strapped for resources while still being viewed as a cost center for most businesses, open source software is not only a viable option, it’s the only option. This is in combination with the fact that most IT departments just need something for monitoring and are sometimes equipped to take on some of the shortfalls of an open sourced monitoring solution. If it works, then use it.
The Reality of Open Source
But, there is also an ugly side of open source software. For businesses, the approach can be unsustainable. Whether it’s because people that have been the champion (and often the developer) of their system have moved on to greener pastures, or they just don’t have the resources for a product that is unsupported. Having a system that just gets by is a dangerous line to tread, especially when dealing with your entire IT infrastructure.
For the most part, a lot of IT departments are forced to be the firefighters of the business. Common phrases a system administrator might hear include, “emails broken again, fix it”, “the network is down, bring it back up”, or “the printer has become self-aware and has begun threatening violence”.
Hmmm, is that a different kind of ink?
However, this can be transformed to become one of the biggest cost saving departments in any business.
Spend a Little
With the right configured monitoring tool which does more than just check if devices are working or not, an IT department can see exactly what processes are being affected. This means getting to the problem before service gets interrupted, which always means saving the business more money over time.
Free may look good now, but just think of the potentially cost for the future of the business. There is a lot of factors that could affect a tool actually staying completely “free”. The other option is a system that might cost money, but will be supported, and the capabilities, could actually save some dough in your IT pockets.
If your department happens to be strapped for cash, check out Opsview Atom. It’s completely free for up to twenty five devices and comes with full enterprise functionality out of the box, instead of just a base to build off of. With Business Service Monitoring included as a feature, it’s a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of monitoring and how it will actually save you money in the long run.